EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The success of Stefon Diggs' 40-yard catch-and-run for a game-tying touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater involved protection, poise and presence, Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner said Thursday.
Turner explained multiple components about the play and why he thinks it is "as good of a play" as Bridgewater has made in his second pro season.
Turner said the Bears decided to play single coverage with Sherrick McManis on Diggs and double team Mike Wallace, but Diggs "ran a great route and (McManis) got in a bad position," which caused McManis to fall, creating running room for Diggs. Turner said some understated the execution of the 10-yard throw.
"I saw where some people said the receivers bailed Teddy out," Turner said. "Teddy, that was as good of play that he's had this year because they're in a four-man rush and you can get hurried up, we had the tight end in for extra protection.
"He actually looked to Wallace, he looked to CJ [Charles Johnson], then he came back to Diggs and to me, he made a hell of throw because he brought Diggsy back inside and gave him a chance to take off and run with it," Turner added. "To me, that play, I know Diggs made a good play, but it was great protection, it was great poise and presence by Teddy and then it was a heck of a route. Once they're spread out and playing man and trying to double the slot receiver, if the one guy doesn't make a tackle, you've got a lot of room to run."
Wallace hustled over to help Diggs through two Bears defenders that had been guarding him, which was important because it helped the score occur with 1:49 remaining, which saved important seconds and the Vikings timeouts.
Targeting red zone boost: Finishing the run with a score also took away a possibility of not capitalizing. The Vikings have eight touchdowns on 21 trips inside an opponent's 20-yard line this season.
Turner said the biggest problems seem to have occurred between the 10 and the 5-yard lines.
"We've tried to run the ball in there and through a stretch of four or five possessions in there, we had situations that kept us from running the ball, whether it was someone getting beat, it was a mental error, whether it was a miscommunication," Turner said. "We need to run the ball down in there, we need to run the ball better, and I'm not talking about average per attempt because when you're down inside the 10, your average per attempt is not going to be good.
"Your goal-line (situation), obviously, takes away from your average per attempt," Turner added. "What you're trying to do is stay on schedule, create a situation where you can get inside the five and have the ability to run the ball or throw the ball. There was a stretch there where we've struggled and it's more about us than I think about what the defense was doing."
St. Louis will bring the top-rated red zone defense with it when the Rams (4-3) visit the Vikings (5-2) at noon (CT) Sunday. The Rams have allowed five touchdowns on the 16 trips opponents have made inside their 20 and haven't allowed a touchdown since Oct. 11.
Injury reports:Anthony Barr (low back), Eric Kendricks (ribs) and Sharrif Floyd (knee/ankle) did not participate Thursday.
Joe Berger (chest), Diggs (hamstring), Justin Trattou (foot), Everson Griffen (neck) and Harrison Smith (neck) were limited. Tom Johnson (knee), Audie Cole (finger), Rhett Ellison (concussion) and T.J. Clemmings (neck) fully participated.
For the Rams: Chris Long (knee), Robert Quinn (knee), DE William Hayes (thigh), RB Chase Reynolds (thigh), T Rob Havenstein (ankle) and S T.J. McDonald did not participate. RB Tre Mason (ankle) was limited.